Articles Tagged ‘careless driving - Brake the road safety charity’

Bradford South MP wins national road safety award

News from Brake
Tuesday, 14 November 2017
news@brake.org.uk

Bradford South MP wins national road safety award

Judith Cummins, MP for Bradford South, has today been awarded a parliamentarian road safety award by charity Brake and Direct Line.

The award recognises Judith’s dedication to road safety, both within her constituency and nationally. Since her election in 2015, she has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the weaknesses in criminal justice for drivers convicted of killing and seriously injuring by careless and dangerous driving.

Judith, along with other campaigners including Brake, helped secure an increase in sentencing for those found guilty of the most serious road crimes from the Ministry of Justice last month - a landmark victory for the families of road crash victims.

Locally, Judith Cummins has raised the profile of the Telegraph and Argus’ long-running ‘danger drivers’ campaign within her home town of Bradford and in Parliament, including speaking in numerous debates and helping tackle the issue of dangerous driving across the city.

Next week, Judith is holding an event to promote the importance of safe and considerate driving on Bradford’s roads, as part this year's Road Safety Week. 

Jason Wakeford, director of campaigns for Brake, the road safety charity, said:"Judith is a worthy winner of this parliamentarian road safety award. Her tireless campaigning to help tackle dangerous driving on the roads of Bradford is to be applauded. Judith has also worked alongside Brake and others to make the Government recognise that the statute books have been weighed against families who have had their lives torn apart through the actions of drivers who have broken the law. The recent decision by the Ministry of Justice to increase sentences for the most dangerous drivers is a major victory in the fight for improved road safety." 

Accepting her award, Judith Cummins MP said: “I am delighted to have received Brake’s Road Safety Award off the back of my long-standing campaign to improve safety on the roads of my home city of Bradford. Dangerous and careless driving has been a blight on the communities of Bradford for far too long. The recent Government announcement that tougher punishments will be introduced for driving offenders was very welcome news. This change in the law is testament to what can be achieved when we all speak with one voice – I wish to thank everyone who made their voice heard by responding to the public consultation.

“Brake, as a national campaigning charity, has been tirelessly campaigning for improved road safety for many, many decades. Its greatly admired work supporting bereaved families is especially worthy of our praise. I very much look forward to continuing to work alongside Brake to campaign for better standards, stronger laws and tougher enforcement on the roads of Bradford and the whole of the UK.”

[ENDS] 

Notes to editors: 

About Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.

Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.  

About Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or online.

Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. UK Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com.

Brake launches ‘look out for each other’ campaign as extent of selfish driving across East Midlands is revealed

Monday 17 November 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

  • A fixed penalty for ‘careless driving’ or speeding is issued in the East Midlands every six minutes
  • One third (32%) of primary school children in the Midlands have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike

Road safety charity Brake is today launching a campaign calling on all road users to look out for each other, to help stop the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that happen daily on UK roads [1][2], and particularly to protect people on foot and bike. The campaign is being backed by a bereaved family from the East Midlands, where 148 people were killed and 1,731 seriously injured last year. See case study below.

The call comes at the start of Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake, during which thousands of schools, companies and communities will be raising awareness and police across the UK will be stepping up traffic enforcement to deter and catch drivers putting others at risk.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners RSA and Specsavers are today (17 Nov) revealing statistics showing shocking numbers of drivers risking lives by flouting traffic laws. 89,829 fixed penalty notices were issued for ‘careless driving’ and speeding offences in the East Midlands in 2013– one every six minutes. 88,499 were for speeding and 1,330 for careless driving (a fixed penalty newly introduced in August 2013). Embargoed figures are available by postcode, including the top 10 worst postcode areas[3].

This lack of patience, consideration and responsibility towards other road users can and does result in tragedy. It can also stop the most vulnerable from exercising their right to healthy, active, sustainable travel. Results of Brake’s survey of over 400 Midlands primary school children[4], released today, show:

  • four in five (82%) think roads in their community can be dangerous for walking and cycling;
  • one third (32%) have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike.

Brake is calling on all road users to look out for each other, and particularly urging drivers to protect kids and adults on foot and bike – by slowing down to 20mph in communities, looking longer and taking it slow at junctions and bends, and giving people plenty of room and consideration. See below for more advice and facts showing why these steps are important.

Members of the public can show their support for thelook out for each other campaign by:

 Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“When drivers use roads without care for others the consequences can be tragic and horrific – people killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, because of a moment of impatience or selfishness. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, daily, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury. And there are wider consequences if we don’t look out for each other on roads – people afraid to walk and cycle or let their kids walk and cycle, and unable to get out and enjoy their community and live active lifestyles. That’s why, instead of making our streets stressful, risky places, we’re asking all road users to look out for and protect each other, particularly the most vulnerable – that means drivers sticking to 20 or below in towns and villages, looking carefully at junctions, and being considerate. Ultimately, we’re all just human beings trying to get around, with equal right to use the roads, not competing tribes.”

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ national lead for roads policing, added:“Our officers and staff do a vital job in enforcing important safety laws and protecting the public on the roads. Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for forces and partners to engage with their local communities to deliver important road safety messages and undertake enforcement activities in support of Brake’s week.”

Road safety minister Robert Goodwill MP added his support, saying:“Cycling and walking are healthy ways to get around and are good for the environment too and I want more people to be able to make this choice for their journeys. At the same time we want to ensure cyclists and pedestrians are safe. That is why in the Cycling Delivery Plan I announced our proposals for the next phase of work on cycle and pedestrian safety. This includes cycle-proofing our roads and wider transport infrastructure, a review of regulations, the need to highlight best practice to local authorities, an update to the national design standards and a review of the driving test.”

Peter Collins, group and UK head of corporate responsibility at RSA, commented:“A lack of patience or consideration for others on the roads can sometimes lead to dangerous, if not life threatening situations. Prevention is better than cure, so taking the time to look out for each other; being careful and considerate to all road users whether in vehicles, on bikes or on foot can help keep Britain's roads safe for everyone."

Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins says:“Specsavers stores have been proud to support Road Safety Week for a number of years. Good eyesight is essential to road safety, which is clearly recognised by this year's theme, ‘look out for each other’. But ‘looking out for each other’ isn’t just about keeping your eyesight up to scratch; it’s about keeping your mind sharp and being aware and considerate of everyone around you, especially vulnerable people on foot and bike who need that bit of extra protection. Specsavers stores will be doing their bit to raise awareness, and helping make sure people can be seen on the road.”

Case studies:

Find out about all the bereaved and injured volunteers supporting Road Safety Weekhere.

Timothy Igoea, 45, from Heighington, Lincolnshire,was crossing the road on a spring day when he was hit on the back of the head by a van wing mirror. He subsequently died in hospital. Find out more.

Timothy’s brother, Gary Igoea, lives in Lincoln. He says:“Tim’s death affected everybody in so many different ways. He was a truly special man; there are not many people you will meet in life like him. There was a strength about him that would dumbfound anyone, especially after his first crash; he almost pushed his disabilities to one side in his determination. I am so proud to have had a brother like Tim – when most people would have crumbled, he stayed strong. He had an incredible passion for life and he was taken from us and his family too early. That’s why, this Road Safety Week, I want to tell people that when you get into a car, it’s like holding a loaded gun: you have the power to destroy both the life of the victim and the lives of their family and friends. So please, look out for each other, don’t be complacent, and be courteous on the road.”

Facts and advice:

‘Vulnerable road users’ (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders)account for half (49%) of road deaths in the UK [5].

In the UK in 2013, 405 people were killed and 5,160 seriously injured walking, and 113 people were killed and 3,185 seriously injured cycling [6]. That's 24 people a day killed or seriously injured on foot or bike – one every hour.

Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes, and especially in protecting vulnerable road users. If something unexpected happens – such as a child stepping out suddenly – it is a driver’s speed that determines if they can stop in time, and if they can’t, how hard they will hit. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in crash rates[7], anddrivers who speed are nearly twice as likely to have been involved in a crash[8]. Advice for drivers: stick to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops. Your stopping distance in an emergency will be half what it is at 30mph, and in busy urban areas you won’t notice a difference in your journey time. You’ll save on fuel, vehicle wear and emissions.

Vulnerable road users are often at risk from vehicles manoeuvring, such as at junctions, where they may not be seen in a blind spot. 75% of cyclist collisions occur at or near junctions when vehicles are turning [9]. Advice for drivers: take it really slow at junctions and bends, look longer and carefully check mirrors before manoeuvring. Always assume a pedestrian or cyclist may be there; never just assume it’s safe to turn.

Traffic around homes, schools and shops, which could often be redirected to roads with fewer people walking or cycling, puts vulnerable road users at risk. Advice for drivers: consider your route and if you can minimise driving in communities. Consider if you need to make your journey by car at all: could you walk, cycle, or take public transport? Studies show active travel makes you happier as well as healthier [10].

Fear of traffic discourages people from walking or cycling, so it’s a big public health issue. Only 22% of journeys and 3% of miles travelled in Britain are on foot, and only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike [11]. A Brake survey of UK schoolchildren found three in four (76%) would like to walk and cycle more [12]. Another survey found one in three non-cyclists would cycle if routes were safer[13].

Up to 95% of crashes are caused by driver error[14]. Thereforeit is vital drivers take responsibility to protect themselves and everyone around them. Everyone can commit to do this by making the Brake Pledge to follow six simple rules to help prevent devastating road crashes, atwww.brake.org.uk/pledge

Notes for editors:

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2014 takes place 17-23 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors RSA and Specsavers.

RSA

With a 300-year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK & Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America and can write business in around 140 countries in total. Focusing on general insurance such as motor, home, pet and commercial cover, RSA has more than 21,000 employees serving 17 million customers worldwide. In 2013 its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

Since 2011, RSA's 'Fit to Drive' campaign has worked to highlight the important issue of eye health and driver safety in the UK. http://www.rsagroup.com/

Specsavers

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Total revenue for the Specsavers Group was £1.7 billion in 2011/2012
  • More than 20 million customers used Specsavers globally in 2011/2012. As of end March 2012, Specsavers had 16,138,076 customers in the UK and 928,582 customers in the Republic of Ireland
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 30,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain’s most trusted brand of opticians for the eleventh year running by the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey 2012
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK
  • Specsavers sold more than 290 million contact lenses globally in 2011/12 and has more than a million customers on direct debit schemes. Specsavers' own contact lens brand - easyvision - is the most known on the high street
  • The hearcare business in the UK has established itself as the number one high street provider of adult audiology services to the NHS

Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[2] Police recorded injury road traffic collision statistics: 2013 key statistics report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2014
[3] Analysis by Brake of data provided by the DVLA, September 2014 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/et6pjj56i2w2guo/AABDJE4mN_5nlr7i5eGoixVja?dl=0. These figures are combined totals of the following careless driving offences: CD10: Driving without due care and attention; CD20: Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users; CD30: Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users, and the following speeding offences: SP10: Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits; SP20: Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles); SP30: Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road; SP40: Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit; SP50: Exceeding speed limit on a motorway; SP60: Undefined speed limit offence.
[4] 'Hands up' survey of 433 primary school children (aged 7-11) from schools in the Midlands participating in Brake's Giant Walking Bus, carried out between January and May 2014. When asked 'do you think roads in your neighbourhood can be dangerous for kids who are walking or cycling?', 82% said yes, 18% said no. When asked 'have you ever been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while walking or cycling?', 32% said yes, 68% said no.
[5] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[6] ibid
[7] Speed, speed limits and accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994
[8] The speeding driver: who, how and why? Scottish Executive, 2003
[9] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[10] Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, University of East Anglia, 2014 http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2014/september/active-commuting-benefits 
[11] National travel survey 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[12] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake, 2014 http://www.brake.org.uk/news/1230-gwb2014 
[13] Speed in built-up areas, Brake and Direct Line, 2013 http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport-Speed-section2-urbanroads-2013.pdf 
[14] Dimensions of aberrant driver behaviour, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1998

Brake launches ‘look out for each other’ campaign as extent of selfish driving across East of England is revealed

Monday 17 November 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

  • A fixed penalty for ‘careless driving’ or speeding is issued in the East of England every five minutes
  • Two in five (38%) primary school children in the East of England have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike

Road safety charity Brake is today launching a campaign calling on all road users to look out for each other, to help stop the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that happen daily on UK roads [1][2], and particularly to protect people on foot and bike. In the East of England region, 178 people were killed and 2,191 seriously injured last year.

The call comes at the start of Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake, during which thousands of schools, companies and communities will be raising awareness and police across the UK will be stepping up traffic enforcement to deter and catch drivers putting others at risk.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners RSA and Specsavers are today (17 Nov) revealing statistics showing shocking numbers of drivers risking lives by flouting traffic laws. 98,084 fixed penalty notices were issued for ‘careless driving’ and speeding offences in the East of England in 2013 – one every five minutes. 96,116 were for speeding and 1,968 for careless driving (a fixed penalty newly introduced in August 2013). Embargoed figures are available by postcode, including the top 10 worst postcode areas[3].

This lack of patience, consideration and responsibility towards other road users can and does result in tragedy. It can also stop the most vulnerable from exercising their right to healthy, active, sustainable travel. Results of Brake’s survey of 400 primary school children in the East region[4], released today, show:

  • three in five (63%) think roads in their community can be dangerous for walking and cycling;
  • two in five (38%) have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike.

Brake is calling on all road users to look out for each other, and particularly urging drivers to protect kids and adults on foot and bike – by slowing down to 20mph in communities, looking longer and taking it slow at junctions and bends, and giving people plenty of room and consideration. See below for facts showing why these steps are important.

Members of the public can show their support for thelook out for each other campaign by:

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“When drivers use roads without care for others the consequences can be tragic and horrific – people killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, because of a moment of impatience or selfishness. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, daily, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury. And there are wider consequences if we don’t look out for each other on roads – people afraid to walk and cycle or let their kids walk and cycle, and unable to get out and enjoy their community and live active lifestyles. That’s why, instead of making our streets stressful, risky places, we’re asking all road users to look out for and protect each other, particularly the most vulnerable – that means drivers sticking to 20 or below in towns and villages, looking carefully at junctions, and being considerate. Ultimately, we’re all just human beings trying to get around, with equal right to use the roads, not competing tribes.”

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ national lead for roads policing, added:“Our officers and staff do a vital job in enforcing important safety laws and protecting the public on the roads. Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for forces and partners to engage with their local communities to deliver important road safety messages and undertake enforcement activities in support of Brake’s week.”

Road safety minister Robert Goodwill MP added his support, saying:“Cycling and walking are healthy ways to get around and are good for the environment too and I want more people to be able to make this choice for their journeys. At the same time we want to ensure cyclists and pedestrians are safe. That is why in the Cycling Delivery Plan I announced our proposals for the next phase of work on cycle and pedestrian safety. This includes cycle-proofing our roads and wider transport infrastructure, a review of regulations, the need to highlight best practice to local authorities, an update to the national design standards and a review of the driving test.” 

Peter Collins, group and UK head of corporate responsibility at RSA, commented:“A lack of patience or consideration for others on the roads can sometimes lead to dangerous, if not life threatening situations. Prevention is better than cure, so taking the time to look out for each other, being careful and considerate to all road users whether in vehicles, on bikes or on foot can help keep Britain's roads safe for everyone."

Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins says:“Specsavers stores have been proud to support Road Safety Week for a number of years. Good eyesight is essential to road safety, which is clearly recognised by this year's theme, ‘look out for each other’. But ‘looking out for each other’ isn’t just about keeping your eyesight up to scratch; it’s about keeping your mind sharp and being aware and considerate of everyone around you, especially vulnerable people on foot and bike who need that bit of extra protection. Specsavers stores will be doing their bit to raise awareness, and helping make sure people can be seen on the road.”

Facts and advice:

‘Vulnerable road users’ (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders)account for half (49%) of road deaths in the UK [5].

In the UK in 2013, 405 people were killed and 5,160 seriously injured walking, and 113 people were killed and 3,185 seriously injured cycling [6]. That's 24 people a day killed or seriously injured on foot or bike – one every hour.

Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes, and especially in protecting vulnerable road users. If something unexpected happens – such as a child stepping out suddenly – it is a driver’s speed that determines if they can stop in time, and if they can’t, how hard they will hit. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in crash rates[7], anddrivers who speed are nearly twice as likely to have been involved in a crash[8]. Advice for drivers: stick to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops. Your stopping distance in an emergency will be half what it is at 30mph, and in busy urban areas you won’t notice a difference in your journey time. You’ll save on fuel, vehicle wear and emissions.

Vulnerable road users are often at risk from vehicles manoeuvring, such as at junctions, where they may not be seen in a blind spot. 75% of cyclist collisions occur at or near junctions when vehicles are turning [9]. Advice for drivers: take it really slow at junctions and bends, look longer and carefully check mirrors before manoeuvring. Always assume a pedestrian or cyclist may be there; never just assume it’s safe to turn.

Traffic around homes, schools and shops, which could often be redirected to roads with fewer people walking or cycling, puts vulnerable road users at risk. Advice for drivers: consider your route and if you can minimise driving in communities. Consider if you need to make your journey by car at all: could you walk, cycle, or take public transport? Studies show active travel makes you happier as well as healthier [10].

Fear of traffic discourages people from walking or cycling, so it’s a big public health issue. Only 22% of journeys and 3% of miles travelled in Britain are on foot, and only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike [11]. A Brake survey of UK schoolchildren found three in four (76%) would like to walk and cycle more [12]. Another survey found one in three non-cyclists would cycle if routes were safer[13].

Up to 95% of crashes are caused by driver error[14]. Therefore it is vital drivers take responsibility to protect themselves and everyone around them. Everyone can commit to do this by making the Brake Pledge to follow six simple rules to help prevent devastating road crashes, atwww.brake.org.uk/pledge

Notes for editors:

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2014 takes place 17-23 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors RSA and Specsavers.

RSA

With a 300-year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK & Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America and can write business in around 140 countries in total. Focusing on general insurance such as motor, home, pet and commercial cover, RSA has more than 21,000 employees serving 17 million customers worldwide. In 2013 its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

Since 2011, RSA's 'Fit to Drive' campaign has worked to highlight the important issue of eye health and driver safety in the UK. http://www.rsagroup.com/

Specsavers

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Total revenue for the Specsavers Group was £1.7 billion in 2011/2012
  • More than 20 million customers used Specsavers globally in 2011/2012. As of end March 2012, Specsavers had 16,138,076 customers in the UK and 928,582 customers in the Republic of Ireland
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 30,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain’s most trusted brand of opticians for the eleventh year running by the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey 2012
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK
  • Specsavers sold more than 290 million contact lenses globally in 2011/12 and has more than a million customers on direct debit schemes. Specsavers' own contact lens brand - easyvision - is the most known on the high street
  • The hearcare business in the UK has established itself as the number one high street provider of adult audiology services to the NHS

Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[2] Police recorded injury road traffic collision statistics: 2013 key statistics report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2014
[3] Analysis by Brake of data provided by the DVLA, September 2014 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/et6pjj56i2w2guo/AABDJE4mN_5nlr7i5eGoixVja?dl=0.These figures are combined totals of the following careless driving offences: CD10: Driving without due care and attention; CD20: Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users; CD30: Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users, and the following speeding offences: SP10: Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits; SP20: Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles); SP30: Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road; SP40: Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit; SP50: Exceeding speed limit on a motorway; SP60: Undefined speed limit offence.
[4] 'Hands up' survey of 358 primary school children (aged 7-11) from schools in the East of England participating in Brake's Giant Walking Bus, carried out between January and May 2014. When asked 'do you think roads in your neighbourhood can be dangerous for kids who are walking or cycling?', 63% said yes, 37% said no. When asked 'have you ever been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while walking or cycling?', 38% said yes, 62% said no.
[5] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[6] ibid
[7] Speed, speed limits and accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994
[8] The speeding driver: who, how and why? Scottish Executive, 2003
[9] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[10] Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, University of East Anglia, 2014 http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2014/september/active-commuting-benefits 
[11] National travel survey 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[12] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake, 2014 http://www.brake.org.uk/news/1230-gwb2014 
[13] Speed in built-up areas, Brake and Direct Line, 2013 http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport-Speed-section2-urbanroads-2013.pdf 
[14] Dimensions of aberrant driver behaviour, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1998

Brake launches ‘look out for each other’ campaign as extent of selfish driving across North West is revealed

Monday 17 November 2014 

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

  • A fixed penalty for ‘careless driving’ or speeding is issued in the North West every five minutes
  • More than one in three (36%) North West children say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike

Road safety charity Brake is today launching a campaign calling on all road users to look out for each other, to help stop the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that happen every day on UK roads [1][2], and particularly to protect people on foot and bike. The campaign is being backed by a seriously injured volunteer from the North West, where 149 people were killed and 2,548 seriously injured last year. See case study below.

The call comes at the start of Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake, during which thousands of schools, companies, emergency services and communities will be raising awareness and police across the UK will be stepping up traffic enforcement to deter and catch drivers putting others at risk.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners RSA and Specsavers are today (17 Nov) revealing statistics showing shocking numbers of drivers risking lives by flouting traffic laws. 101,996 fixed penalty notices were issued for ‘careless driving’ and speeding offences in the North West in 2013– one every five minutes. 100,469 were for speeding and 1,527 for careless driving (a fixed penalty newly introduced in August 2013). Embargoed figures are available by postcode, including the top 10 worst postcode areas[3].

This lack of patience, consideration and responsibility towards other road users can and does result in tragedy. It can also stop the most vulnerable from exercising their right to healthy, active, sustainable travel. Results of Brake’s survey of 400 primary school children in the North West[4], released today, show:

  • four in five (78%) think roads in their community can be dangerous for walking and cycling;
  • more than a third (36%) say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike.

Brake is calling on all road users to look out for each other, and particularly urging drivers to protect people on foot and bike – by slowing down to 20mph in communities, looking longer and taking it slow at junctions and bends, and giving people plenty of room and consideration. See below for more advice and facts showing why these steps are important.

Members of the public can show their support for thelook out for each other campaign by:

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“When drivers use roads without care for others the consequences can be tragic and horrific – people killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, because of a moment of impatience or selfishness. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, daily, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury. And there are wider consequences if we don’t look out for each other on roads – people afraid to walk and cycle or let their kids walk and cycle, and unable to get out and enjoy their community and live active lifestyles. That’s why, instead of making our streets stressful, risky places, we’re asking all road users to look out for and protect each other, particularly the most vulnerable – that means drivers sticking to 20 or below in towns and villages, looking carefully at junctions, and being considerate. Ultimately, we’re all just human beings trying to get around, with equal right to use the roads, not competing tribes.”

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ national lead for roads policing, added:“Our officers and staff do a vital job in enforcing important safety laws and protecting the public on the roads. Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for forces and partners to engage with their local communities to deliver important road safety messages and undertake enforcement activities in support of Brake’s week.”

Road safety minister Robert Goodwill MP added his support, saying:“Cycling and walking are healthy ways to get around and are good for the environment too and I want more people to be able to make this choice for their journeys. At the same time we want to ensure cyclists and pedestrians are safe. That is why in the Cycling Delivery Plan I announced our proposals for the next phase of work on cycle and pedestrian safety. This includes cycle-proofing our roads and wider transport infrastructure, a review of regulations, the need to highlight best practice to local authorities, an update to the national design standards and a review of the driving test.”

Peter Collins, group and UK head of corporate responsibility at RSA, commented:“A lack of patience or consideration for others on the roads can sometimes lead to dangerous, if not life threatening situations. Prevention is better than cure, so taking the time to look out for each other, being careful and considerate to all road users whether in vehicles, on bikes or on foot can help keep Britain's roads safe for everyone."

Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins says:“Specsavers stores have been proud to support Road Safety Week for a number of years. Good eyesight is essential to road safety, which is clearly recognised by this year's theme, ‘look out for each other’. But ‘looking out for each other’ isn’t just about keeping your eyesight up to scratch; it’s about keeping your mind sharp and being aware and considerate of everyone around you, especially vulnerable people on foot and bike who need that bit of extra protection. Specsavers stores will be doing their bit to raise awareness, and helping make sure people can be seen on the road.”

Case studies:

Find out about all the bereaved and injured volunteers supporting Road Safety Weekhere.

Phil Shaw, 49, from Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire,was seriously injured in the early afternoon of summer’s day, on the seafront in Fleetwood, Lancashire, when a car crashed into him as he was riding his Vespa scooter. Find out more.

Phil says: ‘‘My whole life has been affected by this one day; it now consists of hospital appointments and constant medication, for the rest of my life. I suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) due to the lack of exercise I get. I have battled with depression and a lot of my friends don’t know what to say to me. The greatest effect has been on my family – I can’t ever ride a bike with my son, play football with him, or do normal father-son activities. My wife has become a carer, not only for my children, but for me as well, and it is devastating to see the stress of that on her. The best way I can describe the impact of the crash is like throwing a pebble into a pool of water – the ripples and effects are continuous and I don’t know where it will take me next. Please, look out for each other on the roads, to help ensure other people and other families don’t have to suffer needlessly.’’

Facts and advice:

‘Vulnerable road users’ (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders)account for half (49%) of road deaths in the UK [5].

In the UK in 2013, 405 people were killed and 5,160 seriously injured walking, and 113 people were killed and 3,185 seriously injured cycling [6]. That's 24 people a day killed or seriously injured on foot or bike – one every hour.

Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes, and especially in protecting vulnerable road users. If something unexpected happens – such as a child stepping out suddenly – it is a driver’s speed that determines if they can stop in time, and if they can’t, how hard they will hit. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in crash rates[7], anddrivers who speed are nearly twice as likely to have been involved in a crash[8]. Advice for drivers: stick to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops. Your stopping distance in an emergency will be half what it is at 30mph, and in busy urban areas you won’t notice a difference in your journey time. You’ll save on fuel, vehicle wear and emissions.

Vulnerable road users are often at risk from vehicles manoeuvring, such as at junctions, where they may not be seen in a blind spot. 75% of cyclist collisions occur at or near junctions when vehicles are turning [9]. Advice for drivers: take it really slow at junctions and bends, look longer and carefully check mirrors before manoeuvring. Always assume a pedestrian or cyclist may be there; never just assume it’s safe to turn.

Traffic around homes, schools and shops, which could often be redirected to roads with fewer people walking or cycling, puts vulnerable road users at risk. Advice for drivers: consider your route and if you can minimise driving in communities. Consider if you need to make your journey by car at all: could you walk, cycle, or take public transport? Studies show active travel makes you happier as well as healthier [10].

Fear of traffic discourages people from walking or cycling, so it’s a big public health issue. Only 22% of journeys and 3% of miles travelled in Britain are on foot, and only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike [11]. A Brake survey of UK schoolchildren found three in four (76%) would like to walk and cycle more [12]. Another survey found one in three non-cyclists would cycle if routes were safer[13].

Up to 95% of crashes are caused by driver error[14]. Therefore it is vital drivers take responsibility to protect themselves and others around them. Everyone can commit to do this by making the Brake Pledge to follow six simple rules to help prevent devastating road crashes, atwww.brake.org.uk/pledge

Notes for editors:

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2014 takes place 17-23 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors RSA and Specsavers.

RSA

With a 300-year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK & Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America and can write business in around 140 countries in total. Focusing on general insurance such as motor, home, pet and commercial cover, RSA has more than 21,000 employees serving 17 million customers worldwide. In 2013 its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

Since 2011, RSA's 'Fit to Drive' campaign has worked to highlight the important issue of eye health and driver safety in the UK. http://www.rsagroup.com/

Specsavers

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Total revenue for the Specsavers Group was £1.7 billion in 2011/2012
  • More than 20 million customers used Specsavers globally in 2011/2012. As of end March 2012, Specsavers had 16,138,076 customers in the UK and 928,582 customers in the Republic of Ireland
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 30,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain’s most trusted brand of opticians for the eleventh year running by the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey 2012
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK
  • Specsavers sold more than 290 million contact lenses globally in 2011/12 and has more than a million customers on direct debit schemes. Specsavers' own contact lens brand - easyvision - is the most known on the high street
  • The hearcare business in the UK has established itself as the number one high street provider of adult audiology services to the NHS

Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[2] Police recorded injury road traffic collision statistics: 2013 key statistics report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2014
[3] Analysis by Brake of data provided by the DVLA, September 2014 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/et6pjj56i2w2guo/AABDJE4mN_5nlr7i5eGoixVja?dl=0.These figures are combined totals of the following careless driving offences: CD10: Driving without due care and attention; CD20: Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users; CD30: Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users, and the following speeding offences: SP10: Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits; SP20: Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles); SP30: Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road; SP40: Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit; SP50: Exceeding speed limit on a motorway; SP60: Undefined speed limit offence.
[4] 'Hands up' survey of 360 primary school children (aged 7-11) from schools in the North West participating in Brake's Giant Walking Bus, carried out between January and May 2014. When asked 'do you think roads in your neighbourhood can be dangerous for kids who are walking or cycling?', 78% said yes, 22% said no. When asked 'have you ever been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while walking or cycling?', 36% said yes, 64% said no.
[5] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[6] ibid
[7] Speed, speed limits and accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994
[8] The speeding driver: who, how and why? Scottish Executive, 2003
[9] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[10] Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, University of East Anglia, 2014 http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2014/september/active-commuting-benefits 
[11] National travel survey 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[12] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake, 2014 http://www.brake.org.uk/news/1230-gwb2014 
[13] Speed in built-up areas, Brake and Direct Line, 2013 http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport-Speed-section2-urbanroads-2013.pdf 
[14] Dimensions of aberrant driver behaviour, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1998

Brake launches ‘look out for each other’ campaign as extent of selfish driving across UK is revealed

Monday 17 November 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk 

Note: this is the national version of this release. Click here for versions specific to your region or specialist audience.

  • Two fixed penalties for 'careless driving' or speeding issued every minute
  • Two in five (41%) UK primary school children say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike

Road safety charity Brake is today launching a campaign calling on all road users to look out for each other, to help stop the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that happen every day on UK roads [1][2], and particularly to protect people on foot and bike. The call comes at the start of Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake, during which police across the country will be stepping up traffic enforcement to deter and catch drivers putting others at risk.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners RSA and Specsavers are today (17 Nov) revealing statistics showing shocking numbers of UK drivers senselessly risking lives by flouting traffic laws. Almost one million fixed penalty notices were issued for 'careless driving' and speeding offences in 2013 –almost two a minute. 950,505 were for speeding and 17,483 for careless driving (a fixed penalty newly introduced in August 2013). Embargoed figures are available by region and postcode, including the top 10 worst postcode areas [3].

This lack of patience and consideration towards other road users can and does result in tragedy (see case studies below). It can also stop the most vulnerable from exercising their right to healthy, active, sustainable travel. Results of Brake's survey of 5,000 primary school children [4], released today, show:

  • two thirds (67%) think roads in their community can be dangerous for walking and cycling;
  • two in five (41%) say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike.

That's why Brake is calling on all road users to look out for each other, and particularly urging drivers to protect people on foot and bike – by slowing down to 20mph in communities, looking longer and taking it slow at junctions and bends, and giving people plenty of room and consideration. See below for more advice and facts showing why these steps are important.

Members of the public can show their support for the look out for each other campaign by:

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "When drivers use roads without care for others the consequences can be tragic and horrific – people killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, because of a moment of impatience or selfishness. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, daily, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury. And there are wider consequences if we don't look out for each other on roads – people afraid to walk and cycle or let their kids walk and cycle, and unable to get out and enjoy their community and live active lifestyles. That's why, instead of making our streets stressful, risky places, we're asking all road users to look out for and protect each other, particularly the most vulnerable – that means drivers sticking to 20 or below in towns and villages, looking carefully at junctions, and being considerate. Ultimately, we're all just human beings trying to get around, with equal right to use the roads, not competing tribes."

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, the Association of Chief Police Officers' national lead for roads policing, added: "Our officers and staff do a vital job in enforcing important safety laws and protecting the public on the roads. Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for forces and partners to engage with their local communities to deliver important road safety messages and undertake enforcement activities in support of Brake's week."

Road safety minister Robert Goodwill MP added his support, saying: "Britain has some of the safest roads in the world and improving safety is an absolute priority for this government. Cycling and walking are both great exercise and benefit our environment and economy, and I want more people to feel safe on our roads.

"This is why we have made significant investments in road safety and improved education resources for schools, made it easier for councils to introduce 20mph zones and increased fixed penalties for driving offences."

Peter Collins, group and UK head of corporate responsibility at RSA, commented: "A lack of patience or consideration for others on the roads can sometimes lead to dangerous, if not life threatening situations. Prevention is better than cure, so taking the time to look out for each other, being careful and considerate to all road users whether in vehicles, on bikes or on foot can help keep Britain's roads safe for everyone."

Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins says: "Specsavers stores have been proud to support Road Safety Week for a number of years. Good eyesight is essential to road safety, which is clearly recognised by this year's theme, 'look out for each other'. But 'looking out for each other' isn't just about keeping your eyesight up to scratch; it's about keeping your mind sharp and being aware and considerate of everyone around you, especially vulnerable people on foot and bike who need that bit of extra protection. Specsavers stores will be doing their bit to raise awareness, and helping make sure people can be seen on the road."

Facts and advice:

'Vulnerable road users' (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders) account for half (49%) of road deaths in the UK [5].

In the UK in 2013, 405 people were killed and 5,160 seriously injured walking, and 113 people were killed and 3,185 seriously injured cycling [6]. That's 24 people a day killed or seriously injured on foot or bike – one every hour.

Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes, and especially in protecting vulnerable road users. If something unexpected happens – such as a child stepping out suddenly – it is a driver's speed that determines if they can stop in time, and if they can't, how hard they will hit. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in crash rates [7], and drivers who speed are nearly twice as likely to have been involved in a crash [8]. Advice for drivers: stick to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops. Your stopping distance in an emergency will be half what it is at 30mph, and in busy urban areas you won't notice a difference in your journey time. You'll save on fuel, vehicle wear and emissions.

Vulnerable road users are often at risk from vehicles manoeuvring, such as at junctions, where they may not be seen in a blind spot. 75% of cyclist collisions occur at or near junctions when vehicles are turning [9]. Advice for drivers: take it really slow at junctions and bends, look longer and carefully check mirrors before manoeuvring. Always assume a pedestrian or cyclist may be there; never just assume it's safe to turn.

Traffic around homes, schools and shops, which could often be redirected to roads with fewer people walking or cycling, puts vulnerable road users at risk. Advice for drivers: consider your route and if you can minimise driving in communities. Consider if you need to make your journey by car at all: could you walk, cycle, or take public transport? Studies show active travel makes you happier as well as healthier [10].

Fear of traffic discourages people from walking or cycling, so it's a big public health issue. Only 22% of journeys and 3% of miles travelled in Britain are on foot, and only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike [11]. A Brake survey of UK schoolchildren found three in four (76%) would like to walk and cycle more [12]. Another survey found one in three non-cyclists would cycle if routes were safer [13].

Up to 95% of crashes are caused by driver error [14]. Therefore it is vital drivers take responsibility to protect themselves and everyone around them. Everyone can commit to do this by making the Brake Pledge to follow six simple rules to help prevent devastating road crashes, at www.brake.org.uk/pledge

Case studies:

Find out about all the bereaved and injured volunteers supporting Road Safety Week here.
Iris Yee and Gary Igoea will be at the national launch and available for interview. Caroline MacIntyre will be at the Edinburgh launch and is available for pre-recorded interviews.

Lidia Zoetemelk, 42, from London, was travelling to work on her 50cc scooter in south east London when she was hit by a turning truck. She was killed instantly. Find out more.

Lidia's partner, Iris Yee, says: "Lidia's death was a shock to everyone who knew her. To have someone so young, with such a vibrant zest and energy for life, die so tragically and unexpectedly, has been devastating. My world collapsed when she was killed. We were on the brink of starting the next chapter of our lives. We had so much to look forward to, with so many exciting plans and dreams. I have no anger towards the driver of the vehicle for what happened, but I do want to help prevent more tragedies. Lidia often commuted to work by moped or bicycle. She was one of many vulnerable road users. This is why I'm supporting Road Safety Week. More has to be done to prevent deaths like Lidia's, especially improving visibility for drivers of large vehicles, and persuading all drivers to slow down and keep careful look out for people on foot and bike. We all have a responsibility to look out for each other, especially the most vulnerable road users.''

 


Jason MacIntyre, 34, from Fort William, was a well-known Scottish racing cyclist. He was hit by a van while on his bike on 15 January 2008 and died on the way to hospital. Find out more.

Caroline MacIntyre, Jason's wife, says: "The crash has had a catastrophic impact on our lives; it is with us on a daily basis, not only for me, but for our daughters. It has been seven years since the crash and it never gets easier. I'm not sure it's fully sunk in for any of us yet. As an up and coming cycling star he had lots of supporters who were also devastated. He was the most incredible husband and father throughout the difficulties we had with our daughter Morgan being in intensive care, and he put his family above anything. It is devastating for me to be bringing up our children without their father. It takes just a few moments to double check for vulnerable road users like Jason on his bike, and a moment of impatience can cost someone their life. Is that something you can live with on your conscience? So my message to drivers is please, slow down and take your time to look out for people – don't risk destroying lives.''

 


Timothy Igoea, 44, from Heighington, Lincolnshire, was crossing the road on a spring day when he was hit on the back of the head by a van wing mirror. He subsequently died in hospital. Find out more.

Timothy's brother, Gary Igoea, lives in Lincoln. He says: "Tim's death affected everybody in so many different ways. He was a truly special man; there are not many people you will meet in life like him. There was a strength about him that would dumbfound anyone, especially after his first crash; he almost pushed his disabilities to one side in his determination. I am so proud to have had a brother like Tim – when most people would have crumbled, he stayed strong. He had an incredible passion for life and he was taken from us and his family too early. That's why, this Road Safety Week, I want to tell people that when you get into a car, it's like holding a loaded gun: you have the power to destroy both the life of the victim and the lives of their family and friends. So please, look out for each other, don't be complacent, and be courteous on the road."

Notes for editors:

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week is the UK's flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2014 takes place 17-23 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors RSA and Specsavers.

RSA

With a 300-year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK & Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America and can write business in around 140 countries in total. Focusing on general insurance such as motor, home, pet and commercial cover, RSA has more than 21,000 employees serving 17 million customers worldwide. In 2013 its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

Since 2011, RSA's 'Fit to Drive' campaign has worked to highlight the important issue of eye health and driver safety in the UK. http://www.rsagroup.com/ 

Specsavers

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Total revenue for the Specsavers Group was £1.7 billion in 2011/2012
  • More than 20 million customers used Specsavers globally in 2011/2012. As of end March 2012, Specsavers had 16,138,076 customers in the UK and 928,582 customers in the Republic of Ireland
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 30,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain's most trusted brand of opticians for the eleventh year running by the Reader's Digest Trusted Brands survey 2012
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK
  • Specsavers sold more than 290 million contact lenses globally in 2011/12 and has more than a million customers on direct debit schemes. Specsavers' own contact lens brand - easyvision - is the most known on the high street
  • The hearcare business in the UK has established itself as the number one high street provider of adult audiology services to the NHS

Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[2] Police recorded injury road traffic collision statistics: 2013 key statistics report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2014
[3] Analysis by Brake of data provided by the DVLA, September 2014 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/et6pjj56i2w2guo/AABDJE4mN_5nlr7i5eGoixVja?dl=0. These figures are combined totals of the following careless driving offences: CD10: Driving without due care and attention; CD20: Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users; CD30: Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users, and the following speeding offences: SP10: Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits; SP20: Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles); SP30: Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road; SP40: Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit; SP50: Exceeding speed limit on a motorway; SP60: Undefined speed limit offence.
[4] 'Hands up' survey of 4,787 primary school children (aged 7-11) from schools across the UK participating in Brake's Giant Walking Bus, carried out between January and May 2014. When asked 'do you think roads in your neighbourhood can be dangerous for kids who are walking or cycling?', 67% said yes, 33% said no. When asked 'have you ever been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while walking or cycling?', 41% said yes, 59% said no.
[5] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[6] ibid
[7] Speed, speed limits and accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994
[8] The speeding driver: who, how and why? Scottish Executive, 2003
[9] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[10] Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, University of East Anglia, 2014 http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2014/september/active-commuting-benefits 
[11] National travel survey 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[12] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake, 2014 http://www.brake.org.uk/news/1230-gwb2014 
[13] Speed in built-up areas, Brake and Direct Line, 2013 http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport-Speed-section2-urbanroads-2013.pdf 
[14] Dimensions of aberrant driver behaviour, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1998

Brake launches ‘look out for each other’ campaign as extent of selfish driving across West Midlands is revealed

Monday 17 November 2014

Brake, the road safety charity
news@brake.org.uk

  • A fixed penalty for ‘careless driving’ or speeding is issued in the West Midlands every six minutes
  • A third (32%) of primary school children in the Midlands say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike

Road safety charity Brake is today launching a campaign calling on all road users to look out for each other, to help stop the five deaths and 61 serious injuries that happen every day on UK roads [1][2], and particularly to protect people on foot and bike. The campaign is being backed by bereaved families from the West Midlands, where 156 people were killed and 1,642 seriously injured last year. Case studies below.

The call comes at the start of Road Safety Week, coordinated by Brake, during which thousands of schools, communities and companies are raising awareness, and police across the UK will be stepping up traffic enforcement to deter and catch drivers putting others at risk.

As part of the campaign, Brake and partners RSA and Specsavers are today (17 Nov) revealing statistics showing shocking numbers of drivers senselessly risking lives by flouting traffic laws. 94,225 fixed penalty notices were issued for ‘careless driving’ and speeding offences in the West Midlands in 2013– one every six minutes. 92,732 were for speeding and 1,493 for careless driving (a fixed penalty newly introduced in August 2013). Embargoed figures are available by postcode, including the top 10 worst postcode areas[3].

This lack of patience, consideration and responsibility towards other road users can and does result in tragedy. It can also stop the most vulnerable from exercising their right to healthy, active, sustainable travel. Results of Brake’s survey of 400 primary school children in the Midlands[4], released today, show:

  • four in five (82%) think roads in their community can be dangerous for walking and cycling;
  • a third (32%) say they have been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while on foot or bike.

Brake is calling on all road users to look out for each other, and particularly urging drivers to protect kids and adults on foot and bike – by slowing down to 20mph in communities, looking longer and taking it slow at junctions and bends, and giving people plenty of room and consideration. See below for more advice and facts showing why these steps are important.

Members of the public can show their support for thelook out for each other campaign by:

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said:“When drivers use roads without care for others the consequences can be tragic and horrific – people killed and badly injured, lives ruined forever, because of a moment of impatience or selfishness. At Brake we witness the suffering that results, daily, through our work supporting people affected by road death and injury. And there are wider consequences if we don’t look out for each other on roads – people afraid to walk and cycle or let their kids walk and cycle, and unable to get out and enjoy their community and live active lifestyles. That’s why, instead of making our streets stressful, risky places, we’re asking all road users to look out for and protect each other, particularly the most vulnerable – that means drivers sticking to 20 or below in towns and villages, looking carefully at junctions, and being considerate. Ultimately, we’re all just human beings trying to get around, with equal right to use the roads, not competing tribes.”

Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ national lead for roads policing, added:“Our officers and staff do a vital job in enforcing important safety laws and protecting the public on the roads. Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for forces and partners to engage with their local communities to deliver important road safety messages and undertake enforcement activities in support of Brake’s week.”

Road safety minister Robert Goodwill MP added his support, saying:“Cycling and walking are healthy ways to get around and are good for the environment too and I want more people to be able to make this choice for their journeys. At the same time we want to ensure cyclists and pedestrians are safe. That is why in the Cycling Delivery Plan I announced our proposals for the next phase of work on cycle and pedestrian safety. This includes cycle-proofing our roads and wider transport infrastructure, a review of regulations, the need to highlight best practice to local authorities, an update to the national design standards and a review of the driving test.”

Ross Stephenson, road casualty reduction team manager, West Midlands Fire Service, said:“Our main aim is to reduce the number of people, especially young people, being killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions across the West Midlands. Over the past few years, West Midlands Fire Service has fully supported Brake’s Road Safety Week and we are pleased to have been given the opportunity to launch this year’s event in the West Midlands. We want the ‘look out for each other’ message to educate as many drivers, passengers and pedestrians as possible. We are urging drivers to slow down and for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists to be fully alert to what is happening around them at all times.”

Peter Collins, group and UK head of corporate responsibility at RSA, commented:“A lack of patience or consideration for others on the roads can sometimes lead to dangerous, if not life threatening situations. Prevention is better than cure, so taking the time to look out for each other, being careful and considerate to all road users whether in vehicles, on bikes or on foot can help keep Britain's roads safe for everyone."

Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins says:“Specsavers stores have been proud to support Road Safety Week for a number of years. Good eyesight is essential to road safety, which is clearly recognised by this year's theme, ‘look out for each other’. But ‘looking out for each other’ isn’t just about keeping your eyesight up to scratch; it’s about keeping your mind sharp and being aware and considerate of everyone around you, especially vulnerable people on foot and bike who need that bit of extra protection. Specsavers stores will be doing their bit to raise awareness, and helping make sure people can be seen on the road.”

Case studies:

Find out about all the bereaved and injured volunteers supporting Road Safety Weekhere.

Sarah Child, 26, from Great Barr, Birmingham, a daughter, sister and aunt-to-be, was killed by a speeding driver while crossing the road with her heavily pregnant sister, Claire. Find out more.

Avril Child, Sarah’s mother, says: ‘’Sarah was a kind, beautiful daughter, who loved life and had lots of things she wanted to do. She loved her family more than anything. She lived with Claire in a house divided into two flats – so Claire not only lost her sister, and was herself seriously injured, but she also lost her home – all before having her daughter, Evie Mae. This tragedy has turned our world upside down, all because of somebody not taking the care and attention to slow down or see my poor daughters crossing the street. There is nothing that can bring Sarah back, but I hope just one person reads this and it makes them re-think how they drive to prevent more road casualties. I hope that everyone looks out for each other following this year’s Road Safety Week, and in particular that drivers will slow down to 20mph in communities, look twice and take it slow at junctions and bends, and are considerate to vulnerable pedestrians and cyclists.’’


 

Nicholas Andrews, 17, from Redditch,was hit by a car while walking along a grass verge to go to the shop. Hesuffered serious head injuries and died in hospital five days later. Find out more.

Helen Andrews, Nicholas’ sister, says:“Nicholas’s death has been horrendous for me and my family. We think about him every day. He was the best big brother anyone could ever ask for. He was so popular, funny and kind, and he could always make you laugh even if you felt like the world was ending – which, for me, it did when he died. The house was so empty and silent. I hated it. This huge personality, this beautiful person with the most wonderful smile, was gone. This Road Safety Week, we are asking all drivers to be as vigilant as possible to protect others. I always take care to look out for cyclists and pedestrians when I am driving as they can easily make mistakes, which they don’t deserve to die for.”

Facts and advice:

‘Vulnerable road users’ (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders)account for half (49%) of road deaths in the UK [5].

In the UK in 2013, 405 people were killed and 5,160 seriously injured walking, and 113 people were killed and 3,185 seriously injured cycling [6]. That's 24 people a day killed or seriously injured on foot or bike – one every hour.

Speed is a critical factor in all road crashes, and especially in protecting vulnerable road users. If something unexpected happens – such as a child stepping out suddenly – it is a driver’s speed that determines if they can stop in time, and if they can’t, how hard they will hit. Every 1mph reduction in average speeds causes, on average, a 5% reduction in crash rates[7], anddrivers who speed are nearly twice as likely to have been involved in a crash[8]. Advice for drivers: stick to 20mph or below around homes, schools and shops. Your stopping distance in an emergency will be half what it is at 30mph, and in busy urban areas you won’t notice a difference in your journey time. You’ll save on fuel, vehicle wear and emissions.

Vulnerable road users are often at risk from vehicles manoeuvring, such as at junctions, where they may not be seen in a blind spot. 75% of cyclist collisions occur at or near junctions when vehicles are turning [9]. Advice for drivers: take it really slow at junctions and bends, look longer and carefully check mirrors before manoeuvring. Always assume a pedestrian or cyclist may be there; never just assume it’s safe to turn.

Traffic around homes, schools and shops, which could often be redirected to roads with fewer people walking or cycling, puts vulnerable road users at risk. Advice for drivers: consider your route and if you can minimise driving in communities. Consider if you need to make your journey by car at all: could you walk, cycle, or take public transport? Studies show active travel makes you happier as well as healthier [10].

Fear of traffic discourages people from walking or cycling, so it’s a big public health issue. Only 22% of journeys and 3% of miles travelled in Britain are on foot, and only 2% of journeys and 1% of miles travelled are by bike [11]. A Brake survey of UK schoolchildren found three in four (76%) would like to walk and cycle more [12]. Another survey found one in three non-cyclists would cycle if routes were safer[13].

Up to 95% of crashes are caused by driver error[14]. Therefore it is vital drivers take responsibility to protect themselves and people around them. Everyone can commit to do this by making the Brake Pledge to follow six simple rules to help prevent devastating road crashes, atwww.brake.org.uk/pledge

Notes for editors:

Brake

Brake is a national road safety charity that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaignscommunity education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs. Brake was founded in the UK in 1995, and now has domestic operations in the UK and New Zealand, and works globally to promote action on road safety.

Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week is the UK’s flagship event to promote safer road use, coordinated annually by the charity Brake and involving thousands of schools, communities and organisations across the country. Road Safety Week 2014 takes place 17-23 November, with support from the Department for Transport and headline sponsors RSA and Specsavers.

RSA

With a 300-year heritage, RSA is one of the world's leading multinational quoted insurance groups. RSA has major operations in the UK & Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada and Latin America and can write business in around 140 countries in total. Focusing on general insurance such as motor, home, pet and commercial cover, RSA has more than 21,000 employees serving 17 million customers worldwide. In 2013 its net written premiums were £8.7 billion.

Since 2011, RSA's 'Fit to Drive' campaign has worked to highlight the important issue of eye health and driver safety in the UK. http://www.rsagroup.com/

Specsavers

  • Specsavers was founded by Doug and Dame Mary Perkins in 1984 and is now the largest privately owned opticians in the world. The couple still run the company, along with their three children. Their son John is joint managing director
  • Specsavers has more than 1,600 stores throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Spain, Australia and New Zealand
  • Total revenue for the Specsavers Group was £1.7 billion in 2011/2012
  • More than 20 million customers used Specsavers globally in 2011/2012. As of end March 2012, Specsavers had 16,138,076 customers in the UK and 928,582 customers in the Republic of Ireland
  • Specsavers optical stores and hearing centres are owned and run by joint venture or franchise partners. Together, they offer both optical and hearing services under one roof.
  • Specsavers employs more than 30,000 staff
  • Specsavers was voted Britain’s most trusted brand of opticians for the eleventh year running by the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brands survey 2012
  • More than one in three people who wear glasses in the UK buy them from Specsavers - 10,800,000 glasses were exported from the warehouse to stores in 2011
  • Specsavers was ranked No 1 for both eye tests and glasses in the UK
  • Specsavers sold more than 290 million contact lenses globally in 2011/12 and has more than a million customers on direct debit schemes. Specsavers' own contact lens brand - easyvision - is the most known on the high street
  • The hearcare business in the UK has established itself as the number one high street provider of adult audiology services to the NHS

Specsavers supports several UK charities including Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Sound Seekers, the road safety charity Brake, the anti-bullying charity Kidscape and Vision Aid Overseas, for whom stores have raised enough funds to build a school of optometry in Zambia and open eyecare outreach clinics in much of the country.

End notes

[1] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[2] Police recorded injury road traffic collision statistics: 2013 key statistics report, Police Service of Northern Ireland, 2014
[3] Analysis by Brake of data provided by the DVLA, September 2014 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/et6pjj56i2w2guo/AABDJE4mN_5nlr7i5eGoixVja?dl=0. These figures are combined totals of the following careless driving offences: CD10: Driving without due care and attention; CD20: Driving without reasonable consideration for other road users; CD30: Driving without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users, and the following speeding offences: SP10: Exceeding goods vehicle speed limits; SP20: Exceeding speed limit for type of vehicle (excluding goods or passenger vehicles); SP30: Exceeding statutory speed limit on a public road; SP40: Exceeding passenger vehicle speed limit; SP50: Exceeding speed limit on a motorway; SP60: Undefined speed limit offence.
[4] 'Hands up' survey of 433 primary school children (aged 7-11) from schools in the Midlands participating in Brake's Giant Walking Bus, carried out between January and May 2014. When asked 'do you think roads in your neighbourhood can be dangerous for kids who are walking or cycling?', 82% said yes, 18% said no. When asked 'have you ever been hit or nearly hit by a vehicle while walking or cycling?', 32% said yes, 68% said no.
[5] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[6] ibid
[7] Speed, speed limits and accidents, Transport Research Laboratory, 1994
[8] The speeding driver: who, how and why? Scottish Executive, 2003
[9] Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2013, Department for Transport, 2014
[10] Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing, University of East Anglia, 2014 http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/2014/september/active-commuting-benefits 
[11] National travel survey 2012, Department for Transport, 2013
[12] Kids want to get active: thousands march for safer streets, Brake, 2014 http://www.brake.org.uk/news/1230-gwb2014 
[13] Speed in built-up areas, Brake and Direct Line, 2013 http://www.brake.org.uk/assets/docs/dl_reports/DLreport-Speed-section2-urbanroads-2013.pdf 
[14] Dimensions of aberrant driver behaviour, Uppsala University, Sweden, 1998

Brake responds to criminal driving and sentencing consultation

Ministry of Justice consultation on driving offences and penalties relating to causing death or serious injury 

Response from Brake, the road safety charity, February 2017

1. Should there be a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving?

Serious injuries in road crashes must be taken seriously, with appropriate charges in place for causing them. For every death on the road there are more than ten times as many people seriously injured.

It is noted that there is an existing offence, introduced in 2012, of “causing serious injury by dangerous driving”. A new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving” would be welcomed within the current framework of careless and dangerous driving charges.

While welcomed, Brake notes that such a charge would unfortunately continue to ingrain in legislation the existing distinction between “careless driving” and “dangerous driving” and Brake continues to argue that the justifications for using this distinction in cases relating to death and injury are questionable. Brake does this in disagreement with the government (as stated in point 12 to 22 of the consultation). The difference between a driver “falling below” (defined in law as careless) and “falling far below” (defined in law as dangerous) the expectations of a competent and careful driver is not an easy assessment to undertake objectively and consequently causes variability in use of charges and penalties issued. The test lacks any benchmark for consistency due in large part to the variability of facts on a case to case basis. In reality, the line between below and far below is impossible to pin-point.

The consultation document makes reference to a small number of examples of practical application from the so-called “objective test” including in the list of “careless driving” offences. This includes such conduct as “turning into the path of another vehicle” or “being distracted by lighting a cigarette”. In these situations, and no doubt in others deemed “careless”, it is very difficult to understand how any competent and careful driver could consider such behaviour anything other than dangerous. The consequences of so-called “careless driving” are both life changing and life ending.

Public confidence in the existing terminology has been lost. The interpretation of the law by prosecution agencies and in the courts is being seen as arbitrary, misleading and unfair. The term ‘careless’ in itself is seen as a poor choice of language for offences resulting in such grave outcomes. This is raised by the government in section 27 and 28 of the consultation.

A minority of people convicted of death by careless driving are given a custodial sentence, and the average sentence is little over a year (see section 46 of the consultation).

Brake has long advocated for the term careless to therefore be considered for removal from legislation relating to death and serious injury from traffic offences. Driving that kills or injures is either legal or illegal. It is either safe driving or bad driving that endangers. It is not enough to simply advise the judiciary to refer to bad driving – the language of charges needs changing.

2. If yes, having regard to the maximum penalties for the existing offences of causing serious injury and assault, would either 2 or 3 years be an appropriate and proportionate maximum penalty for the new offence?

Neither two or three years are appropriate nor proportionate maximum sentences. Serious injury in a road crash is a wide definition that includes permanent and life-changing injury, notably paralysis, brain injury, loss of limbs, or facial disfigurement.

The consultation document rightly states that “though often thought of as a separate body of law, road traffic legislation is part of the criminal law and the severity of penalties available must not only take account of the relative seriousness of the range of traffic offences but must also be consistent with the penalties available in other areas of criminal law”.

These other areas of the criminal law include Sections 18 and 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act. Currently, ABH (Assault causing Actual Bodily Harm, section 20) is punishable by up to five years in prison and a possible fine and GBH (Grievous Bodily Harm), section 18) carries a potential life sentence. Sentences of three to 16 years for GBH are not uncommon. This means that a deliberately inflicted broken nose only can be subject to a prison sentence of several years while life changing injury of a road crash victim is being proposed as punishable by a sentence of only two or three years.

The differentiation between “deliberate intent” and “dangerous disregard” for the resulting injury is not relevant to the consultation as lack of intent has already been set aside as a factor in the application of existing “careless driving’ penalties. In road traffic collisions, it is reasonable to argue that failure to take care is a negligent act, as the risks of not doing so are so obviously great.

When considering the maximum sentence for a new charge of causing serious injury by careless driving, consideration must also be given to the current maximum sentence for the existing charge of causing death by careless driving, which currently is only five years. (RTA section 2b).

As stated in answer to Q1, in reality a minority of people convicted of causing death by careless driving are given a custodial sentence at all. If the current system of “careless” charges is to be kept and increased, the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving must be reviewed and raised respectively.

3 Do you think that the maximum penalty for causing death by dangerous driving adequately reflects the culpability of the offending behaviour or should it be increased from 14 years’ imprisonment to life?

The maximum sentence should be raised to life imprisonment. It cannot be right that the average prison sentence for a driver who has killed someone through bad or illegal driving is four years.

When we consider that the minimum sentence for domestic burglary with no additional charges of bodily harm is three years, in comparison to four years for causing the death of another human being when driving dangerously, it becomes clear that the level of sentencing for death by dangerous driving is inappropriately low. (Criminal justice system statistics quarterly: December 2015, Ministry of Justice, 2016)

4 Do you think that the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs should reflect the same culpability (and therefore the same maximum penalty) as causing death by dangerous driving?

Yes; driving under the influence of drink or drugs should be recognised as an avoidable action and those choosing to drive under the influence of either of these substances should be held accountable to the same degree as is deemed appropriate for death by dangerous driving. This is reflected in the current situation of 14 years’ maximum imprisonment for both death by dangerous driving and the separate charge of death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

An increase in the maximum penalty for death by dangerous driving should be accompanied by a similar increase in the maximum penalty for causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

Brake does however additionally advocate the charge of death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs (RTA section 3A) to be changed to a charge of “causing death while driving under the influence of drink or drugs”. The term careless is unnecessary and misleading in this charge title.

There should similarly be a charge for “causing serious injury while driving under the influence of drink or drugs”.

These new two charges would be possible to bring in any case where a death or serious injury was caused and the driver had consumed above the legal limit of alcohol or drugs (those listed as illegal or illegal above certain doses). In other words, there should not be a need to prove the driving caused the death.

There is a precedent for this approach with the charge “causing death by driving: unlicensed or uninsured” RTA section 3ZB, which requires no need to prove carelessness nor dangerousness.

There are cases demonstrating the need for this change. Families have experienced a loved one being killed in a crash involving an intoxicated driver, but the driver “getting away with it” due to lack of witnesses to confirm bad driving. For example, the case of George Beresford.

Impairment by alcohol is one of the biggest killers on roads. In 2014, an estimated 13% of all road deaths in Great Britain resulted from crashes where at least one driver was above the alcohol limit [3]. A further estimated 25 road deaths per year are caused by drivers who are under the drink-drive limit, but who have significant amounts of alcohol in their blood [4].

Younger drivers (age 25-39) are a particular risk group; a quarter of drink-drive deaths in 2014 resulted from a collision with a drink driver within that age bracket. (DfT,Reported road casualties in Great Britain: Estimates for accidents involving illegal alcohol levels: 2014 (final) and 2015 (provisional), 2016.

Illegal or medical drugs was officially recorded as a contributory factor in 62 fatal road crashes and 259 crashes resulting in serious injuries in 2015 in Britain, but it’s estimated that the true figure is likely to be much higher. (Department for Transport, 2016, Reported road casualties in Great Britain 2015, table RAS50001). One in six bodies of dead drivers (18%) and 16% of the bodies of dead motorcyclists were found to have illegal drugs in their bodies, in research commissioned by the Department for Transport published in 2001. About 6% of dead drivers and dead motorcyclists had taken medicines that could have affected their driving (Transport Research Laboratory, 2001, The Incidence of Drugs and Alcohol in Road Accident Fatalities, report no. 495).

5 Should consideration be given to a longer minimum period of disqualification for offenders convicted of any causing death by driving offence?

Yes. However, ‘obligatory disqualification periods’ are not obligatory as it is possible for the courts to remove or significantly reduce the set period.

The courts should be able to impose longer disqualification sentences.

For offences relating to causing serious injury while driving it would be appropriate to impose bans of many years, commensurate with maximum prison sentences, but for a ban to follow any prison sentence, not to run concurrently. There should be lifelong bans for charges relating to causing death while driving.

At present, obligatory disqualifications often run concurrently with the offender’s custodial sentence. Unfortunately, this means that at the end of the prison sentence road traffic offenders are often able to begin driving straight away; the ban aspect of their sentence being therefore rendered theoretical only.

6 Are there any other driving offences relating to causing death or serious injury that you think should be changed?

Yes.

1. Punishment for killing or seriously injuring while interacting with screen technology (reading / messaging) or talking on a hand-held phone

At present, penalties for interacting with screen technology (reading / messaging) or talking on a hand-held phone and causing death or serious injury are addressed within sentencing guidelines with consideration of the level of distraction within the terms “ordinary avoidable distractions” and “gross avoidable distractions”. (Sentencing Guidelines Council, Definitive Guideline, Causing Death by Dangerous Driving).

Such distractions are not “momentary lapses of attention” (to use a term referred to in definitions of careless driving). They are conscious decisions to interact with technology unrelated to the driving task.

Brake considers sentencing guidance relating to ordinary / gross avoidable distractions to a large degree subjective and inadequate and advocates tough and clear legislation to deal with killing or seriously injuring while: a) Talking on a hand-held phone or similar device (which is illegal), or b) Interacting in other ways (reading / messaging things unrelated to the driving task) with connected screen technology either hand-held (illegal) or through HUD (heads up devices) / smart phones / in-built screens.

With regards to b) there could be exclusions put in place to not penalise drivers engaged in viewing certain limited and OE-fitted information directly related to the driving task and designed with due consideration to the human interface (eg visuals that are easy to read and pop up on your windscreen warning about the posted speed limit or road works ahead). Given the prevalence of GPS-driven routing information built into many vehicles this is also a likely exclusion.

Tough and clear legislation relating to screen technology or talking on a hand-held phone could be manifested as either: a) An automatic definition in law of the above behaviours as dangerous driving, and never careless driving, enabling them to result always in charges of death by dangerous driving or serious injury by dangerous driving; OR b) New charges on the statute books of killing or seriously injuring while engaged in the above behaviours and that do not require these behaviours to be defined as either dangerous or careless. Such offences would be similar to the separate, specific offence currently on the statute books for killing when driving unlicensed or uninsured (3ZB) which has no requirement to prove the standard of driving.

Either of the above proposed changes is timely as it is now technologically straightforward to identify if a driver involved in a crash was engaged in screen activity or talking on a hand-held phone at the time (as phone records can tell us so), so the time is right for an offence relating to this appalling and conscious choice of bad behaviour, particularly in light of the continued rise, and reliance, of people on smart phones and the fitting of heads-up screen technology in vehicles and availability of aftermarket heads-up devices.

A 2016 driver survey by Brake and Direct Line found more than one in three (38%) of drivers aged 25-34 admitted to regularly (several times a week or daily) reading or sending a text or instant message while driving. Nearly a third (31%) of drivers in this age range also admitted to browsing the internet, using social media or other apps while driving, at the same frequency of several times a week or daily.

To emphasise, and similar to our comments on drink / drug driving (see above), there should be no need to prove that the use of such technology caused impairing behaviour. The only requirement should be to prove the use of the technology at the time in the ways described.

Drivers who use phones, either hands-free or hand-held, have been found to be four times more likely to be in a crash resulting in injuries than drivers who are unimpeded by distraction. (Role of mobile phones in motor vehicle crashes resulting in hospital attendance: a case-crossover study, University of Western Australia, 2005) Using a smart phone in whatever way diverts part of a driver’s mind from the driving task, both during the distraction, and after it has finished. It can take nearly half a minute to regain full attention and aside from mental distraction, any distraction that takes a driver’s eyes or hands off the road for any length of time (for example to check messages or scroll through music options) is potentially lethal. At 70mph a vehicle travels 31.5m (about the length of seven cars) every second and in that time a hazard could easily emerge and go unnoticed by a distracted driver. (Smartphone use and smartphone addiction among young people in Switzerland, Severin Haug, 2015)

2. Causing death by dangerous driving – the maximum penalty is 14 years imprisonment (section 1) Vehicular manslaughter in the UK is very rarely the basis of prosecution, yet the impact of death by dangerous driving and vehicular manslaughter is the same for the family or friends of the deceased. Although a life-long driving ban would be welcomed, a more severe custodial sentence would in many cases be more appropriate than 14 years.

3. Causing death by driving: unlicensed or uninsured – the maximum penalty is 2 year imprisonment and/or a fine (3ZB) Driving uninsured or unqualified implies a deliberate disregard for safety and other road users. A minimal sentence of two years imprisonment that can be substituted by a mere fine is an inadequate deterrent in no way representative of the seriousness of the crime and should be increased to levels commensurate with ‘causing death by dangerous driving’. There should be a similar charge of causing serious injury by driving: unlicensed or uninsured. Across the board, charges for serious injury as a result of specific actions by drivers should exist where there are charges for causing death by those specific actions.

4. Causing death while driving disqualified (currently 10 years’ maximum imprisonment / and/or fine) and causing injury while driving disqualified (currently 4 years’ maximum imprisonment and/or fine). (3ZC and D) The maximum penalties for offenders who cause death or injury when driving while disqualified should be significantly increased to levels commensurate with maximum penalties for causing death and causing injury charges for dangerous driving. If a driver has been disqualified, they should not be behind the wheel under any circumstances. The law must be particularly robust in the circumstance when it has already been disregarded.

7 Does the equalities statement correctly identify the extent of the impacts of the proposed options for reform set out in this consultation paper?

Yes.

Brake urges full review of road safety laws as cycling offence consultation is launched

News from Brake
Sunday, 12 August 2018
 
The Department for Transport has announced the launch of a consultation which will look at whether a new offence equivalent to causing death by careless or dangerous driving should be introduced for dangerous cyclists.
 
Commenting on the announcement, Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said:
“Whilst the intentions behind the Government’s announcement are sound, they are trying to fix a fundamentally flawed legal framework. A full review of road safety law is required and frankly long overdue. All too often families are denied justice, with drivers who kill let off with pitifully lenient sentences, and the public endangered through dangerous drivers evading driving bans. The Government must review all road safety law to protect the public and deliver justice for the families of those devastated by road death.”
 
The Department for Transport has also announced that it will look at updating parts of the Highway Code, including measures to counter the dangerous practice of ‘close passing’ and that it has commissioned the Cycle Proofing Working Group to develop national guidance and best practice for cycling and walking infrastructure, so that all road users can benefit from the best facilities.
 
Commenting on the announcement, Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at road safety charity Brake, said:
“Cycling is one of the healthiest, cheapest and most environmentally-friendly forms of transport available and yet cyclists’ vulnerability put many off getting on a bike. We welcome the move by the Government to address the danger of “close passing” but encourage them to go further to improve cycle safety. This year’s Road Safety Week theme is ‘Bike Smart’ and from 19-25 November we will be encouraging everyone to shout about the safety of those on two wheels – we hope the Government listens and acts to improve cyclist safety”
 
 [ENDS]
 
Notes to editors
  • Road Safety Week is the UK's biggest road safety event, coordinated annually by Brake, the road safety charity.
Road Safety Week aims to inspire thousands of schools, organisations and communities to take action on road safety and promote life-saving messages during the Week and beyond. It also provides a focal point for professionals working in road safety to boost awareness and engagement in their work. Road Safety Week website
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
 
We do this through national campaignscommunity educationservices for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Follow Brake on TwitterFacebook, or The Brake Blog.
 
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Charges and penalties

 

Key facts

 
  • The maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving is only five years, compared to 14 for causing death by dangerous driving;
  • In 2015, 188 drivers were charged with ‘causing death by dangerous driving’, while 201 were charged with ‘causing death by careless driving' [1];
  • About three in five people convicted of killing someone while driving are jailed,[2] with an average prison sentence of under four years [3];
  • In 2014, 1.02 million fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were issued for driving offences in England and Wales; three-quarters of the FPNs were for speed-limit offences, the highest proportion on record [4];
  • FPNs for careless driving (excluding handheld mobile phone use) increased by 11% between 2013 and 2014 [5]; 
  • In 2013, 240 fatal road crashes, and 1,100 crashes resulting in a serious injury, involved a drink-drive offence [6];
  • Nine in 10 people want criminal drivers who kill charged with manslaughter[7];
  • Brake is advocating a review of charges for causing death and serious injury on the road, to ensure drivers are charged with offences that adequately reflect the risk taken and harm caused.

Introduction

 
Drivers who kill, harm and endanger are often let off with grossly inadequate penalties, in some cases for inappropriately-termed charges.

In cases of death and serious injury on our roads, this often causes terrible insult and upset to bereaved and injured victims, leaving many feeling betrayed by our justice system.

What's more, low penalties for driving offences at all levels sends a message that these are minor infringements, rather than serious crimes that result in needless suffering and loss of life.

Brake is now calling on the government to immediately review guidelines for both charging and sentencing criminal drivers as part of its ‘Roads to Justice' campaign.

Current penalties and charges

A combination of inadequacies in the criminal justice system means many drivers who kill or seriously injure receive very low sentences and often no jail term at all. Government figures show only three in five people convicted of killing someone through risky driving are jailed, with an average sentence length of under four years.

The Ministry of Justice decides the offences drivers can be charged with and their maximum penalties. The Crown Prosecution Service then decides which charge to prosecute a driver for in court, often opting for a less serious charge because they are more likely to get a conviction. Judges then determine the length of sentence if the driver is convicted, working within maximum penalties and using guidelines from the Sentencing Council.

Brake believes major improvements are needed to charges, penalties and sentencing to ensure justice is done and there's a strong deterrent against illegal driving.

Read about:

'Careless' driving

When a driver causes a death, they might be prosecuted with 'causing death by dangerous driving' or 'causing death by careless driving'. When a driver causes a serious injury, they might be prosecuted with 'causing serious injury by dangerous driving' (a charge introduced in 2012) or simply 'careless driving'. 

The difference between 'careless' and 'dangerous' driving in the eyes of the law is slight and subjective: it's the difference between someone's driving falling below or well below what is expected of a careful and competent driver. But the difference in penalties between these charges is huge. The maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving is only five years, compared to 14 for causing death by dangerous driving. The maximum sentence for causing serious injury by dangerous driving is five years (if heard in a Crown Court), compared to a maximum penalty of a fine only for careless driving. Very often, prosecutors go for the lesser careless driving charges because they are easier to prove. 

In a study to mark the launch of Brake’s new ‘Roads to Justice’ campaign:

  • Nine in 10 (91%) of people questioned agreed that if someone causes a fatal crash when they get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs, they should be charged with manslaughter;
  • Two-thirds (66%) of people surveyed believed that drivers who kill while breaking laws should be jailed for a minimum of 10 years;
  • 84% thought that drivers who kill while breaking the law should be charged with dangerous not careless driving;
  • One in five (19.8%) think that drivers who kill should serve a life sentence.[8]

Brake believes charges and penalties for causing death or serious injury should be overhauled. We need to get rid of the split between 'dangerous' and 'careless' so prosecutors aren't tempted to go for an easier won charge that carries inappropriately low penalties and deems driving that has killed or caused serious harm as merely 'careless', terminology that undermines the gravitas of the offence.

Ideally we should have one charge that can be brought against anyone whose driving causes death or serious injury. Judges could still use their discretion to sentence according to the level of risk taken, across the range of penalties up to the maximum of 14 years. At the very least, prosecuting guidelines should be improved so it is clear that if you were taking an illegal risk when you killed or seriously injured someone, such as speeding or using a phone, your driving is automatically deemed 'dangerous' in the eyes of the law.

Drink drivers

In 2013, 240 fatal road crashes, and 1,100 crashes resulting in a serious injury, involved a drink-drive offence [9]. Currently, drink-drivers face an automatic ban and up to six months in jail, but the penalties are the same no matter how many times they re-offend. Some drivers are also placed on a 'high risk offender' scheme if they are repeat drink-drivers or had a high level of alcohol in their blood. Under this scheme drivers have to undergo tests to show they are not alcohol dependent before getting their licence back.

But the current system to tackle repeat drink-driving isn't working: one in eight drink-drivers do it again, and as many as three in 10 'high risk offenders' reoffend. We need the government to get tough with repeat drink-drivers by giving judges the power to hand out higher sentences (potentially up to two years) to repeat drink-drivers. And we need alcohol interlocks [10] fitted in the vehicles of high-risk offenders who are given back their licence, to help prevent reoffending.

Hit-and-run drivers 

If you hit and kill someone when behind the wheel and you're found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could face up to 14 years in jail. However, if you flee the scene and wait to sober up, you'll most likely be charged with 'hit and run' and face a maximum sentence of six months. We need to end the incentive for drink- and drug-drivers to flee the scene to sober up and ensure hit-and-run drivers who kill or seriously injure face the same penalties as other drivers who inflict such destruction. There must be an assumption that if they fled the scene, they caused the crash through dangerous driving.

Unlicensed drivers

Unlicensed or uninsured drivers have no right to be on roads in the first place. Yet unlicensed and uninsured drivers who kill will only receive the maximum penalty (10 years) if it can be proven in court that they were driving ‘dangerously’. If this cannot be proven, they face a maximum sentence of only two years for ‘causing death by driving when unlicensed or uninsured [11].

Unlicensed driving is often closely linked to uninsured driving. This means that those who kill or injure without a licence often drive an uninsured vehicle and those who are injured or who have lost loved ones receive limited pay out. This is unfair and an additional strain placed on victims, and Brake urges the government to crack down on unlicensed and uninsured drivers.

Brake believes an unlicensed or uninsured driver is driving dangerously simply by getting behind the wheel. If an unlicensed or uninsured driver kills or seriously injures someone, they should face the same maximum penalties as those charged with dangerous driving. 

Sentencing guidelines

Judges decide an offender's jail term based on guidelines from the Sentencing Council. Current guidelines frequently result in low sentences being handed down; they desperately need to be changed.

Driving bans

Brake believes drivers who kill and seriously injure should be taken off the road once they are charged, as a condition of bail. Prosecutions often take months to come to court [12]. In many cases the driver charged is able to continue driving during this time, potentially putting others in danger, and often in the same community where the crash took place, causing further distress to 

Fines as a deterrent

In 2014, there were 1.02 million fixed penalty notices issued for driving offences in England and Wales. This was an 11% fall on the number issued in 2013, continuing a year-on-year downward trend. Nearly three-quarters of fines were issued for speeding offences [13].

Brake believes the £100 fixed penalty fine for driving offences sends a dangerous message that offences like speeding and phone use at the wheel, which can and do lead to death and injury, are not real crimes, and important safety laws need not be taken seriously. Research shows that higher fines pose a stronger deterrent against law-breaking [14], so raising the fixed penalty to £500-£1,000 should encourage wider compliance with vital laws that are in place to protect people. 

Penalty points

The penalty-points system is designed to protect the public from dangerous repeat offenders, but the system is being undermined. Thousands of drivers with 12 points or more have been allowed to retain their licence [15]. Many drivers who have reached 12 points have been using a loophole to keep their licence by claiming it would cause 'exceptional hardship' if they were banned. This loophole needs closing urgently: driving is a privilege, not a right; and if that privilege is not exercised responsibly, it should be revocable. Drivers who reach 12 points should be automatically disqualified to protect themselves and others.

Sentencing disqualified drivers

Drivers who are disqualified have proven they are willing to take life-threatening risks. Disqualified drivers who ignore their ban are likely to pose a serious danger.

In April 2015, the maximum sentence for disqualified drivers who kill was increased from two years to 10 years, and a new offence of ‘causing serious injury by driving while disqualified’ was introduced, with a maximum sentence of four years. This represents important progress, but Brake believes people who repeatedly drive while disqualified should face serious consequences, yet they currently only face a further ban and up to six months in jail no matter how many times they are caught.

We need the government to get tough with these serial offenders, by giving judges the power to hand out higher sentences, potentially up to two years, if someone is caught driving while banned repeatedly. Drivers who kill while disqualified should be prosecuted to the same degree as dangerous drivers who who kill.

Driver re-training courses

Driver re-training courses, often offered as a once-only alternative to a fixed penalty notice for speeding and some other road offences, may help improve attitudes to safe driving for some. However, drivers are incentivised to attend by escaping penalty points, meaning repeat offenders may avoid sanction under the points system. Drivers caught for different offences, such as speeding, mobile phone use and careless driving, can go on multiple courses and avoid receiving points on their licence as long as they don't attended the same course twice. Brake argues it would be better to provide an incentive of a reduced fine to attend courses, so drivers who take risks repeatedly are still sanctioned under the points system. This would be possible if the fixed penalty notice was increased to £500-£1,000 as Brake advocates.


End notes:

[1] Criminal justice system statistics quarterly: December 2015, Ministry of Justice, 2016
[2] Criminal justice system statistics quarterly: December 2015, Ministry of Justice, 2016
[3] Motoring data tool: 2015, Department for Transport, 2015
[4]Police powers and procedures in England and Wales, year ending 31 March 2015: Statistical Bulletin, Home Office, 2015
[5] Police powers and procedures in England and Wales, year ending 31 March 2015: Statistical Bulletin, Home Office, 2015
[6] Prof Richard Allsop, Saving lives by lowering the drink-drive limit, 2015
[7] Brake Poll: 2015-16, Brake
[8] Brake Poll: 2015-16, Brake
[9] Prof Richard Allsop, Saving lives by lowering the drink-drive limit, 2015
[10] Alcohol interlocks are vehicle immobilisers that are activated if a driver is unable to pass a breath test, required to start the engine. They can be linked to a camera to prevent drivers asking someone else to take the test for them.
[11] Driving offences involving death, the Sentencing Council of England and Wales
[12] Average time from offence to completion of trial for an indictable driving offence, such as causing death by dangerous or careless driving, is 120 days and only 47% of cases are completed at the first given trial date. Judicial and court statistics 2010, Ministry of Justice, 2011
[13] Police powers and procedures in England and Wales, year ending 31 March 2015: Statistical Bulletin, Home Office, 2015
[14] Calviño, N. "Public Enforcement in the EU: Deterrent Effect and Proportionality of Fines" European Competition Law Annual 2006: Enforcement of Prohibition of Cartels, 2006
[15]Charity calls for reform to get law-breaking drivers off our roads - 10,000 drivers with 12 points are still driving, Brake, 2011.


                        

One year on and still no sign of tougher sentences for killer drivers

News from Brake
Monday 15 October 2018
news@brake.org.uk
 
Road safety campaigners across the country remain perplexed by the Government’s refusal to deliver justice for the victims and bereaved families of road crashes. Exactly one year on from the announcement of tougher sentences for drivers who kill and seriously injure [1], the Government has failed to bring forward legislation and Brake, the road safety charity, and families of road crash victims across the UK are still waiting for justice.
 
On 15 October 2017, the Ministry of Justice announced plans for killer drivers to face life behind bars, following successful campaigning from Brake on behalf of road crash victims. Life sentences are to be introduced for those who cause death by dangerous driving or cause death by careless driving while under the influence of drink or drugs, and a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving will be created.
 
One year on from the announcement, and despite repeated questioning in the House of Commons by Bradford South MP Judith Cummins – Brake’s Parliamentarian of the Year and a vocal campaigner on tackling dangerous driving [2] - the Justice Minister has been unable to say when the tougher sentences would be implemented [3], stating that they would be incorporated with the findings of government’s review of cycle safety [4], a process with no end in sight and one which is taking a fundamentally flawed approach to road justice reform [5].
 
Commenting on the delay in implementation, Joshua Harris, director of campaigns for Brake, said:
 
“It is completely unacceptable that these new tougher sentences have not yet been implemented. The Government needs to focus its attention on the issues which matter most to road safety - delivering justice for road crash victims and keeping dangerous drivers off our roads. The intentions behind the ongoing cycling offences review are sound but the prioritisation of this issue ahead of dangerous drivers is illogical and simply putting the cart before the horse.”
 
“Drivers who kill or seriously injure all too often receive lenient sentences. By delaying the introduction of new tougher sentences, the Government is causing further suffering to families who have lost loved ones in road crashes. The Government must implement these tougher sentences as first priority, delivering on their promise to road crash victims, and then initiate a review of the flawed legal framework for road justice.”
 
[ENDS]
 
Notes to editors:
[3] Ministry of Justice response to Written Question from Judith Cummins MP, Bradford South.
Dangerous Driving: Sentencing, Commons, 137592: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the press release entitled Life sentences for killer drivers, published by his Department on 15 October 2017, what progress he has made on (a) implementing an increase to the maximum penalty for the offences of causing death by (i) dangerous driving and (ii) careless driving whilst under the influence of drink or drugs to life imprisonment and (b) creating a new offence of causing serious injury by careless driving.
Answered by: Rory Stewart MP, Justice Minister, on 27 April 2018
The government is committed to making sure that the courts have sufficient powers to deal with driving offences appropriately and proportionately. We will bring forward proposals for changes in the law as soon as parliamentary time allows. These proposals will take account of, and incorporate, all of government’s proposals for safer roads, including those arising from the Department of Transport’s review of cycle safety.
 
About Brake
Brake is a national road safety and sustainable transport charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies.
 
We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.

Roads to Justice: campaign calls

Brake’s #RoadsToJustice campaign seeks to ensure that our legal system delivers just and safe outcomes. We are calling upon the Government to:

  1. Simplify and improve the legal definitions of unsafe driving behaviour
  2. Increase the use of driving disqualifications and close the “exceptional hardship” loophole
  3. Increase the current six month maximum prison sentence for failing to stop

The 'Careless’ or ‘Dangerous' issue

Simplify and improve the legal definitions of unsafe driving behaviour

When a driver causes a death or serious injury, they might be prosecuted with 'causing death by dangerous driving' or 'causing death by careless driving'. When a driver causes a serious injury, they might be prosecuted with 'causing serious injury by dangerous driving' (a charge introduced in 2012) or simply 'careless driving'. 

The difference between 'careless' and 'dangerous' driving in the eyes of the law is slight and subjective: it's the difference between someone's driving falling below or well below what is expected of a careful and competent driver. But the difference in penalties between these charges is huge. The maximum sentence for causing death by careless driving is only five years, compared to 14 for causing death by dangerous driving. The maximum sentence for causing serious injury by dangerous driving is five years (if heard in a Crown Court), compared to a maximum penalty of a fine only for careless driving. Very often, prosecutors go for the lesser careless driving charges because they are easier to prove. 

Brake believes charges and penalties for causing death or serious injury should be overhauled. We need to ensure that prosecutors aren't tempted to go for an easier won charge that carries inappropriately low penalties and deems driving that has killed or caused serious harm as merely 'careless', terminology that undermines the gravitas of the offence.

Driving disqualifications

Increase the use of driving disqualifications and close the “exceptional hardship” loophole

Driving is a privilege, not a right, and those who show a disregard for the law shouldn’t be allowed to endanger others.

The penalty-points system is designed to protect the public from dangerous repeat offenders, but the system is being undermined. Thousands of drivers with 12 points or more have been allowed to retain their licence. Many drivers who have reached 12 points have been using a loophole to keep their licence by claiming it would cause 'exceptional hardship' if they were banned. This loophole needs closing urgently: driving is a privilege, not a right; and if that privilege is not exercised responsibly, it should be revocable. Drivers who reach 12 points should be automatically disqualified to protect themselves and others.

Brake also believes that drivers who kill and seriously injure should be taken off the road once they are charged, as a condition of bail. Prosecutions often take months to come to court and in many cases the driver charged is able to continue driving during this time, potentially putting others in danger, and often in the same community where the crash took place.

Hit-and-run drivers 

Increase the current six month maximum prison sentence for failing to stop

If you hit and kill someone when behind the wheel and you're found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could face up to 14 years in jail. However, if you flee the scene and wait to sober up, you'll most likely be charged with 'hit and run' and face a maximum sentence of six months.

We need to end the incentive for drink- and drug-drivers to flee the scene to sober up and ensure hit-and-run drivers who kill or seriously injure face the same penalties as other drivers who inflict such destruction. There must be an assumption that if they fled the scene, they caused the crash through dangerous driving.

Take action

We want you to help us raise the volume of this campaign. We need the Government to hear, loud and clear, that our legal system needs an overhaul to deliver just and safe outcomes. Support our campaign with the below actions.

writetomp2sm

Susan Elan Jones, MP for Clwyd South

susan elan jonesSusan Elan Jones, MP for Clwyd South, has been given a national road safety award by the charity Brake and Direct Line Group for her work campaigning for longer jail terms for drivers who kill or seriously injure.

Susan launched her campaign after the tragic death of nine-year-old, Robert Gaunt, who was run over and killed by driver David Lunn, 65, in 2009.

Lunn, had no licence, no insurance and failed to stop when he hit and killed Robert. He was given a 22 month prison sentence, but served just 10 months.

The maximum sentence for causing a death when driving unlicensed, disqualified or uninsured is two years in jail, and the maximum for killing someone and failing to stop and report it is up to six months. This compares to a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison for drivers convicted of causing death by dangerous driving.

Susan brought forward The Driving Offences (Review of Sentencing Guidelines) Bill under a 10-minute rule bill in January: she called for the government to reconsider the maximum jail sentences for driving that leads to death and serious injury, including unlicensed and hit and run drivers.

After being contacted by Robert Gaunt's family and other local residents in 2010 outraged over the lack of justice following Robert's death, Susan determined to take up the call in Parliament. Since then, Susan has been in regular contact with the family and has written letters, worked in the media, tabled parliamentary questions and lobbied ministers to raise awareness of this gross injustice.

In 2011, Susan drew the attention of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Crispin Blunt, to her campaign and urged him to consider a review of maximum sentences for serious driving offences. While he noted her concerns, this time the Minister did not accept the need for a review.

Susan was able to secure cross party support for her Private Member's Bill - in January 2014 - calling for a review. Numerous other MPs across different parties said they had experienced similar cases to Robert's in their own constituencies, and were equally concerned about the issue of justice for bereaved and seriously injured road crash victims.

The formal date for second reading in Parliament is 28 February and the Ministry of Justice is now committed to reviewing the law surrounding serious driving offences.

Susan has been speaking to MPs across different political parties to try to ensure the issue is kept at the forefront of the political debate, and vows to continue working on the campaign.

Read about Brake's 'Crackdown' campaign.

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, the road safety charity, said: “We’re fully behind Susan’s campaign, which is vital in helping to secure justice for families who have been devastated by road death or serious injury. Risky, illegal driving frequently ends lives violently and needlessly, and inflicts appalling suffering on families and communities, which we bear witness to through our support services for crash victims. It’s crucial these offences are taken seriously and appropriately tough sentences are handed out, to deter risky driving and ensure justice is done. We applaud Susan’s work, and look forward to continuing to work alongside her in the future.”
 
Susan Elan Jones, MP for Clwyd South said: “Brake is an outstanding campaigning organisation - and I am absolutely delighted to receive this award. However, this award also belongs to local campaigners and Overton-on-Dee Community Council who have worked with me throughout on this campaign. We remain determined in our quest to work with Brake to secure some measure of justice for the family of those people so tragically killed or seriously injured on our roads.”